Part of Aid For Japan’s mission is to reach out to some of the orphans from the tragic events of 2011. While the charity aims to connect with these children through the annual summer residential courses, it’s also beneficial for the orphans to visit the UK when the charity can arrange it.
For children that have lost their parents, this is an important step that not only broadens their view of the world but also reminds them that the world remembers them.
In July, Maria was one of the orphans who made the journey from Japan. Maria is one of the children that Aid For Japan has supported since the early days of the charity (as seen in this special TV coverage).
In the first week of her stay, Maria was treated to a professional massage, enjoyed shopping at the Ichiba Japanese Food Hall (part of the Westfield Shopping Centre) and enjoyed a range of tasty evening meals. The culinary delights included yakitori, sushi and also saw Maria helping to cook Italian seafood.
Of course part of any visit to the UK involves visiting popular tourist destinations. As a result, Maria took in a visit to the intriguing London Dungeon, a ride on the London Eye, seeing the fascinating sea-life at the London Aquarium and an educational visit to the Victoria & Albert museum.
But it wasn’t just UK activities for this visit. Maria was also taken on a trip to Paris where she enjoyed a trip to the Eiffel Tower, souvenir shopping at Galleries Lafayette and enjoying crepes for lunch. This French visit was helped by one of Akemi’s Japanese Paris-based language students who kindly acted as a tour guide. As a result, Maria was given an expert sightseeing tour of the Tuileries Gardens, Palais Royal, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter and Jardin du Luxembourg.
Maria’s UK visit was rounded out by a special visit to the Harry Potter studio tour – a magical end to this Japanese teenager’s brief holiday.
Maria, like so many of the orphans of the 2011 earthquake/tsunami, is faced with the memories of that tragic event on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to enjoy a few days in a different environment, which brings them happier memories, is an important step in the road to recovery.
Aid For Japan extends its gratitude to all those that have helped with activities this summer, including the host families and Akemi’s language students.